COVID-19 Exposure at a Veterans Home: Can I Bring a Case?

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be felt in every corner of the country and among people of all ages and walks of life. However, certain groups are more at risk―and see more sickness and death―than others. Seniors are particularly vulnerable to the ravages of the virus, and older Americans who live in the close quarters of nursing homes and long-term care facilities account for a shockingly high percentage of coronavirus fatalities. For the tens of thousands of veterans who live in VA and state-run veterans homes across the country, exposure to COVID-19 is a daily and deadly threat.

If you or someone you know has been exposed to or diagnosed with coronavirus at a veterans or soldiers home, you may have a claim for compensation if the facility or its staff failed to take the necessary steps to reduce the risk of infection.

At Berman & Simmons, Maine’s premier personal injury law firm, we are ready to investigate and pursue cases on behalf of veterans and their families for avoidable exposure and illness at veterans homes and long-term care facilities. Individuals with questions about COVID-19 exposure at such facilities can contact Berman & Simmons to arrange for a free case evaluation.

Read more about what plaintiffs must prove to succeed in a personal injury lawsuit in this article: “If My Loved One Dies or Becomes Critically Ill from the Coronavirus, Can I Bring a Lawsuit?”

Coronavirus Outbreaks Are Rampant at Veterans Homes and Other Long-Term Care Facilities

America’s nursing homes and long-term care facilities are epicenters of the pandemic. Nearly 51,000 cases and over 10,000 deaths have been reported at more than 4,000 United States nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, according to a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Such facilities account for at least a third of COVID-19 deaths in the 26 states that have reported their statistics. In 14 of those states, including Maine, over half of all COVID-19 deaths occurred at long-term care facilities as of May 7, 2020.

The rates and reports of infections in veterans homes are similarly appalling. In Massachusetts, more than 70 veterans at the Holyoke Soldiers Home died from coronavirus as of April 29, 2020, making it the deadliest COVID-19 outbreak at any long-term care facility in the country. Similar horror stories are emerging from veterans homes across America. Here in Maine the virus took the lives of 12 residents of the Maine Veterans’ Home in Scarborough. And the crisis is far from over.

COVID-19 Claims Against Veterans Homes

The coronavirus outbreaks at long-term care facilities and nursing homes have exposed disturbing shortcomings in the care and treatment of residents and how they have responded to outbreaks. At the veterans home in Holyoke, staff forced sick and healthy veterans into overcrowded rooms together, employees lacked supplies and protective gear needed to reduce the spread of infection, and staff was overworked and under-supported. As one certified nurse at the home stated, “We’re talking about the veterans who put their lives on the line to save us, okay. And is that how we’re going to treat them?”

No veteran who has served and sacrificed for their country should be treated with carelessness, especially in the very places they entrust with their health, well-being, and dignity. Whether at a state-run facility like the Maine Veterans’ Home or at any of the more than 100 VA nursing homes (also called Community Living Centers) across the country, residents have rights. These include the right to live in a place that takes all steps to protect them from exposure to COVID-19. When veterans homes fail in this responsibility, they should be held accountable.

If you are a veteran who has suffered or a family member who has lost a loved one because of COVID-19 at a veterans home, please contact the attorneys at Berman & Simmons to arrange for your free case evaluation and consultation.